Tag Archives: rape

Fuck What You Heard, Feminism Is NOT A Bad Word

There is an article going aroung the internet recently, I can’t remember what it is called but it is written by a mother of two boys and it discusses why she doesn’t need feminism anymore. She was saying that she wants her boys to grow up holding doors for women. She also spoke of her disdain at women who teach women (and men) the statistic that one in three women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. She argued that this will make her sons feel like all women are looking at them as predators before they have even done anything wrong.
Obviously, I took to having a great deal of issues with this essay. My first problem was how she explained how she “used to be a feminist” but is no longer one due to giving birth to two sons. I have a son and a daughter, so I don’t buy that having a boy should make you an anti-feminist.
What she is doing is reitifying false feminist stereotypes. Mainly that feminist hate men. Wrong. Feminist want equality for everyone. That’s it. Feminist are not saying that a man cannot hold a door open for his girlfriend, we are just saying that we are capable of doing it ourselves. Men can certainly do something nice. On the opposite side of that same coin, feminists are not out there saying that wives should not ever do things for their husbands. I, for example, am a strong feminist, but frequently pamper my husbands. We are against gender roles as an archetype, that does not at all mean that we refuse to do laundry or cooking. We just want the division of labor to be evenly split.
It is perfectly fine for men to love tools and motorcycles and sports. The issue is that when I talk about football, and know my shit more than 90% of any man that I have spoken to about the topic, I am met with shock. I would love my son to start playing football this year now that he is old enough, it just pisses me off that for my daughter be involved with the sport, she has to be half-naked. Either by being a cheerleader or by playing in the lingerie football league. Yeah, we (as a society) will give girls the opportunity to play football, but they literally have to be in their underwear.
As for teaching men and women the statistics on rapes and sexual assaults, I’m sorry, but this needs to be done. It does not make women look at all men as though they are automatically rapists. I am a rape victim, and do not fear man as a gender. I do not hate men, actually most of my friends are men.
This leads me to my main problem with women like this one denouncing feminism. Using the argument that you “are no longer a feminist” because you are a mother of boys reinforces the false ideology that feminists hate men. This is just flat out not true. Are there any feminists in the world that hate men? I’m sure that there are. There are feminists in the world that hate makeup and fashion as well, but they are not the norm. We don’t hate men, we hate the patriarchal society that we live in.
Everytime, a woman says that they don’t need feminism, it sets back our fight for equal rights, equal pay. Feminism is just the desire for women to be treated the same as men. Not better, not worse. We don’t wanted to be handed things or hired because we are women, we just want an equal chance to get the job and then get paid the same if we do get the job. I hope that women like that realize the harm that they do with denouncing feminism outright.

The Ghosts of Sexual Trauma Past

About two weeks ago (give or take) I wrote a post called “Leave Me the F!@# Alone”.  I was talking about who the man who raped me (at the time that I thought he was my best friend and true confidant), contacted me from Mexico offering to buy me a plane ticket to come stay with him. He also offered to help pay any of my bills if I so desired or needed the help. I feel like this is all a way for him to purge his soul, his penance so to speak.  While, he still refuses to admit that he raped me, he apologizes profusely saying that I didn’t deserve any of the hurt that he out me through. As for the rape, he feels that it was a breakdown in communication.

Every time he reaches out to me, I am thrown into a whirlwind of depression and self-doubt. As much as I try to say that I forgive him in order to move on with my life, the mere mention of him sends my almost gone PTSD into overdrive.

Along the lines of running into people that I wish that I could just forget, I ran into my cousin who molested me as a small child on Halloween. She lives in the neighborhood where we took (and always take) our children trick-or-treating. I knew that she lives in the same zip code as me, no more than two miles away, but I have never seen her, nor did I know which was her house. Of course to farther complicate and muck up the situation was the fact that it was not just my husband and I with out two children. We were still with my sister and her boyfriend and their 20 month old daughter as well as my mother. My sister doesn’t know that this is who molested me. Actually, the only reason that she even knows that I was molested at all is from reading about it on this very blog. As for my mother, I have told her but I get the impression that she doesn’t believe me or doesn’t care or something. Her reaction upon me telling her what my cousin did to me was the exact nonchalant indifference that kept me from telling her for so many years. Ironically enough, my rapist was the first person that I told this information to, after he told me about how he had been molested as a child. This shared pain was what I though bonded us at a deep, un-breakable level. Boy, was I ever wrong?

Of course, my sister and mother wanted to say hello to my cousin that we haven’t spoken to in years. I walked a few steps ahead refusing to look at her and well up with burning hot tears of hatred and anger. As with getting the call from the man who raped me, seeing this woman brought back vivid, brutal flashbacks.

It is particularly cruel and odd to see and hear from the two people who so deeply betrayed me so close together. It reminded me how much I am not over the events that shaped my life in such a profound way. It did show me that I have made progress though. Seeing my cousin gave me flashbacks that day and the next. I still am thinking bout her, obviously, but if this same run-in had happened 10 years ago, I would have been a wreak for months.

The hint with my rapist is a fresher wound as it was 11 years later. Also, I was older, he was older. I trusted him in a very adult manner. He was the basket that I put all of my eggs into after the death of my father and the incident with my cousin. I have to say that I am a little bit proud that I am not still in a tailspin after these two events.

Leave Me The F!@# Alone!

Recently a weird number has been calling my house. It had a 333 area code. One day while my sister was over it called five or six times in a row. After the fifth time, she decided to answer. (This by the way, is not odd, my sister used to live here, and answers the phone all the time.) I was shocked to learn who was on the other end.

Lo and behold, it was my former best friend who raped me when I was 16. He was talking about how he lives in Mexico making all kinds of money. He went on to day that he was awaiting a check for $80,000. He wanted to fly my sister and I (and my mother?) out to Mexico tobe with him. He also offered to pay our bills. Now, he said that he made all this money (the $80,000 plus all his other earnings) dye to a formula that he came up with that converts coffee to useable energy. Now, being as though this man is a clinical, pathological liar, I take anything he says with a grain of salt. He is in Mexico though. I looked up where a 333 area code is, and it is on Mexico. That being said, however, he comes from an incredibly wealthy family, so him being in Mexico does not mean that he has earned a penny for himself.

This is not the first time that he has contacted me. Far from it. He would call me from jail. Once, he walked like four miles from a friend’s house to see me. He constantly sends me private Facebook messages. This is the first time that he has ever involved money, a sort of pay out for my forgiveness and friendship. Generally, the mist of his messages is the same. He always states how much he misses me, that he now realizes how well I treated him. Specifically that I treated him better than his family, than any girlfriends that he has had since, than anyone really. He tells me how much he admires (and always has) my intelligence and refusal to submit to peer pressure and act like everyone else in high school. He then tells me that he is sorry for any pain that he may have  inadvertently caused me, that I didn’t deserve it. Inadvertently is the key word though. He will not say what he did to hurt me. He will apologize, but he still acts as though him raping me was some sort of breakdown in communication.

Awhile back, I wrote a blog post about forgiving my rapist. After I posted this, I sent him a message telling him that after 14 years, I have decided to forgive him. I explained that I was doing this for me and not for him.  Holding on to so much hatred was ruining my life. I told him that I was trying to make a conscience effort to let go and move on. Studying Budahism taught me that by holding on to hatred you only hurt yourself. I explained that this in no way meant that I ever wanted to be friends with him again. I never even want to see him again. Ideally I wish that I could just feel nothing towards him, as if he were a complete stranger.

He cannot just leave it at that. I think it is his guilty concience. Maybe he feels that if I decided to become bestirs with him again, than he must not be that bad of a guy. What he did couldn’t be so awful if I am willing to fly to Mexico and vacation with him. It’s not going to happen though.

I will never accept money or plane tickets from him. He is not going to buy my friendship. It is not my fault that it took you over a decade to realize that you fucked up a good thing. I’m sorry that you now have come to the understanding that I didn’t deserve for you to obliterate my soul and destroy my ability to trust anyone. Perhaps you should have thought about this before you pinned me down while I was asleep and  raped me.

What about the other women that you did this to? He did time twice for different sexual assaults.  Also, before he raped me, I had heard that were two or three girls that had accused him of rape, but I foolishly believed him when he told me that they were lying. I find my self wondering about these women often. Who are they? How did they know him? Was their assaults similar to mine, or totally different? Does it matter how different or similar we are to each other? What does it mean if our encounters with him are virtually identical? What does it mean if they are bi-polar opposites from what happened to me? Also, if the police had not convinced me that it was my fault, that I would never win a conviction in court, not to press charges, would  one or both of the women have been saved? How many women are out there that have never come forward?

At the end of the day, I just want this man to leave me the fuck alone. I gave you the gift of forgiveness. I will not give you the gift of my friendship. You are the primary reason that I have so few friends, that I trust so few people. Nothing good came from me meeting and befriending you. I treated you so good. Imwould have given my arm for you, and I regularly sacrificed a great deal for you. You ruined me. You brutaly introduced me to the dark, horrible side of humanity. It has taken me 14 years to even begin to move on. My PTSD, and nightmares are just beginning to wane, so please just leave me the fuck alone.

Culture of Rape

I had written a post recently about the idea of letting go. Releasing demons, forgiving ourselves and those who have wronged us. I decided that I needed to practice what I was preaching. I wrote a Facebook message to the man who raped me telling him that I forgave him.

I told him that I had decided to forgive him solely for the benefit of my psyche. I stated that I didn’t know or care if this made a different in his life one way or another. I can not hold on to the hate, the pain any longer. After about two days, I received a response. It was absolutely shocking to me.

He informed me that my decision to forgive him cam as an utter shock to him. He said that he did not feel that he had done anything that needed to be forgiven. This after he called me from jail. Few years ago saying how sorry he was that he had hurt me. This after about three months ago he wrote me a message saying how much he loved me then and still does to this day. How much he admired and respected me. How his biggest regret in life is the pain that he had caused me. But now, no, he did no wrong by me.

He went on to recap that night as he said he remembered it. He said that remembered that he had spent the night at my house. I had been studying for a test and then we drank peach schnapps. This is for the most part true. However, he didn’t drink all that much looking back on it. He was steadily trying to feed me alcohol, but he drank maybe one glass. It is here that his story veers far from reality. He said that I was talking about how I wished my boyfriend at the time was more aggressive in bed, how I was irritated that I had to initiate sex all the time. I don’t recall “going on” about this, but it does have a slight ring of truth to it.   I have always been sexually aggressive when within the confines of a committed relationship. The issue is that he is using my desire for my boyfriend to take the lead in bed as an excuse for sexual assault. He was “taking the lead” because I wanted it.

This is the excuse given by many a rapist to many a rape victim, isn’t it? We are all asking for it. The chorus to one of my favorite Hole songs goes, “Was she asking for it?/ Was she asking nice?/ Yeah, she was asking for it/ Did she ask you twice?” Wear a short skirt or a low cut top? Asking for it. Dance with a guy at a club? Asking for it. Kiss a guy, but have no desire to take things further? Oh, you are most certainly asking for it. Me? I apparently was literally asking for it.

The fact that I was crying and trying to get out from under him? He states that he remembered that I was upset that my boyfriend would be mad. Yeah, possibly because he said, “You’re such a slut. J*** is going to dump your ass!” Hum, wonder why I would think that my boyfriend might be mad?

What I didn’t know then, and what I wish  wasn’t a truth that I have to know now, is how sadly common rape is. So prevalent in fact that the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (or RAINN) reports that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. This comes out to 237,868 victims a year in the United States.

I fell in with the 44% of victims that are under the age of 18. With the 2/3 of assaults that are committed by someone known to the victim. Actually, 38% of rapists are “friends” with their victims. For me, this was the aspect of the rape that fucked me up the most. This man was my best friend. Someone who I trusted. He was not some unknown monster that came out of the darkness when I was on some dark alley. No, this was a man that I trusted enough to admit for the first time that I had been repeatedly molested as a young child. I suppose this gave him a window into a weakness that he could exploit. I made an ideal victim. And this was not just the case with me. No, sadly a female child who is victimized is 7 times more likely to be re-victimized later in life. Ironically, I had heard stories from mutual about two girls who said that this guy raped them, but I believed him whole-heartedly when he told me that they were lying. I later learned what a paths logical liar he is/was. After the night in question, he actually called everyone that we knew and were friends with to tell them that it was I who had raped him! He informed them that I was going around spreading lies about him, and that people should not listen to a word that I had to say. Fortunately, everyone knew that this was bullshit, a complete fabrication, a demonic twisting of reality.

Actually, I suppose it could have been a lot worse. When he called me from jail with his apology, yeah, guess what he was in there for? Not just for rape, but kidnapping, sexual sadism and holding someone against their will. He was again charged a few years later with sexual assault, so I was far from his only victim.

A rape changes a woman’s life forever, in all aspects. I knew him, he was my best friend actually. Obviously, I have severe trust issues now. I have very few actual, true friends. I can not near to be hurt again, I would rather just be shut off from people. This is no way to live, but I can not get over the fear of being vulnerable and then crushed again. I have severe PTSD, while much better now, will never be gone.

PTSD is an absolutely horrible, alienating disease. Some nights, I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and shaking. Other nights, my husband would wake me up because he would say that I was crying and saying, “No!”, over and over. I relived that night thousands of times, each as vivid and painful as the night it happened. PTSD makes the victim impossibly needy. The lack of sleep contributes to an extreme paranoia. I still to this day think that everyone is just waiting to fuck me over. I am more than cautiously guarded, I am I obsessed with the idea of people wanting to hurt me for their own sick amusement. The flashbacks are similar to virtual reality, while you are in the middle of one, it seems totally real. Similar to acid flashbacks. (That is why acid is one of the only drugs that I have never done. I am terrified of the flashback that I may experience.) To the person experiencing them, they are sickeningly real.

The problem is that my story is no longer shocking. With one in three women being raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their life, as a society we are all to used to rape. There is a whole show, Law and Order: SVU, that deals exclusively with rapes. Other shows, the CSI’s, and what not deal with crimes against women so much that it becomes common place. Every episode the writers try to out do the previous episode and show something more graphic and shocking then the last one. All this does is numb us to female brutalization. They are tied up with a neat little bow, in tidy one hour time slots. It makes it easy to forget that in real life cases are rarely solved this easily. I went to the police following my rape. I was treated like shit. I was told that it would come down to his word versus mine. At the time, he had no prior rape or assault charges filed against him. Plus, I did let him sleep at my house. I made him a bed on the floor of my room. We had had sex previously. It was pretty much my fault. Of course the cop didn’t say this last part, but they said the rest. They made it very clear that they didn’t think that I had a case. They filed away my statement and sent me on my way. Nice way to stand up for victims rights. This started my still present hatred for police.

We as rape victims are not nameless, faceless people. The pain doesn’t go away after the assailant goes to jail (if we are that lucky). It never really goes away. Somehow, someway, we need to teach the men who think that it is ok to do this sort of thing how much pain it inflicts. While they might be able to forget about it, convince themselves that we were asking for it anyway, we don’t get off so easy. It us, the victims, who serve a life sentence. Yeah, the pain eases slightly, but the scars remain for eternity. They cut too deep to ever really disappear.

I was hoping that forgiving this man would give me some closure. All it did was open a whole new bag of worms.

The Monster Is Me

Oh so stupid was I

To think that you cared

I foolishly thought

That you would be there

But I’m not scared anymore

It’s over now – no more war

You didn’t win

You only succeeded in making me a monster

You tore me down

Burnt my soul to ashes

Slowley, surely

I rebuilt myself

Stronger then before

So meek was I

Just a little mouse

You were a snake

And I was the prey

You may have broken me

But you didn’t kill me

And here I am

Your worst nightmare

Live, in the flesh

Maybe, you should have tried harder

Cause you only succeeded

In making me stronger

Never again

Never will you hurt me again

Now the monster is me

Now it is I

Who will destroy YOU

My Fault

It’s not my fault

You brought me here against my will

It’s not my fault

You made me do it

Tied my hands, shakled my feet

This place that I left

A million times before

Here I am

Here, where I always knew that I was inept

I just never knew that you were keeping score

I have seen this all before

Does this bore you too?

You had to hold my hands

Keep them steady

It’s not my fault

You brought me her against my will

It’s not my fault

You made me do it

Tied my hands, bound my legs

I am blackened by your shadow

Yes sir, do whatever you want

I believed in you

And you’re so shallow

I listened to you

I believed all your shit

I should have known that you were a lost cause

I came with you

On your demented trip

Did my integrity have to be the price?

The cost to make you feel like a man?

It’s not my fault

You brought me here

It was against my will

It’s not my fault

You made me do it

It’s not my fault

You tied my arms

You stabbed my heart

But it has never been my fault

Addicts – Are We Born or Made?

If you have ever spent anytime in rehab or gone to enough NA meetings, you would have heard more sad, terrifying stories than you could even try to remember. This got me to thinking, are we born as addicts, predetermined to a life of misery and hardship? Or have we been forced to overcome more pain and trauma than any one person should ever have to endure or are self medicating?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

My mom definitely experimented with drugs in her youth. She was an acid dropping hippy, who went to every festival, and has seen every cool rock act, from Hendricks, to The Beatles, to the Doors. She was married to a dope head, con-artist, and did her share of experimenting. That man was not my father, and my mother left said con-artist because of his drug habit and aparrent tendency to pawn all of their belongings, claiming that they were getting fixed at the store. She never developed any sort of problem, and can get tipsy off of one glass of wine. Her and my father both smoked weed occasionally. My point is that neither of them had addiction in their past. It is not anywhere in my extended family either.

I guess my addiction came from nurture more than nature. The only thing that I can say that could be considered “nature” is that as far as I can remember I have been sad. I can not, even as a young child, remember extended moments of levity. As a young kid, I was oddly preoccupied with anything that I thought was apart of the “underground” society. As  aberrant as it sounds, I always knew that I was going to do hard drugs. I just never thought that I would become a heroin addict.

Throughout my life I certainly endured enough trauma to send me reeling down a path of destruction. One day at about the age of five, my cousin and I were in my basement playing dolls. She decided that we should play “house” and we should roll around naked like her parents. Next thing I know she is making me kiss her “down there”. I was too young to know how wrong this was, but I felt weird around her and feared her coming over. I honestly can not tell you how many times this sort of molestation happened, only that it occurred multiple times. I was young, and honestly did my best to block it out for most of my life. This did instill my deep seated distrust for basically all people.

My childhood pretty much stayed on a normal path after I was able to somehow stop seeing said cousin. That is until middle school, and the death of my father. I wrote an entire post about his cancer and death called “Daddy Dearest” so I am not going to rehash every single detail. But my younger sister and I were lied to about his condition up until the night that he died. We were told that this was dine for our benefit, but it only made his sudden death hit all the harder. It seemed all the more cruel to make us think that he was going to be fine when he wasn’t.  I was 11 and had never know a single person to even have, let alone die from cancer. When I was told that he was going to be ok, I believed it.

My mom felt guilty. Weather it was because she has mislead us or because she just felt so bad that we had our father cruelly ripped out of our lives, I don’t know. What I do know is that we went shopping. A lot. We were at Bloomingdales or Nordstroms every weekend. My wardrobe was 95% Calvin Klein. (For some reason I adored Calvin Klein). This had some unfortunate, and unforeseen consequences. I was very naive to how deep the jealousy of a group of middle school girls could really run. One day all of my friends, friends since elementary school, decided that I thought that I was better than everyone because of my new clothes. The ring leader of this was a girl who, through her parents recent divorce, went from upper class to barely hanging on to middle class. She moved from a HUGE house on my street to an apartment in one of the cheapest areas in the county. I did not at all think that I was better than anyone, but I think she saw in me what she used to see in herself. So now I was out a father and friends. Irony being what it is though, the kids who took pity on me during this sudden ostracism was the super popular kids. So, their plan had the up intended affect of making me more popular.

My mom, understandably, was a wreck. We were fortunate that she had always been the bread winner, so while it hurt to loose an income, we didn’t loose the house that my father literally built.  She tried so hard to do everything on her own. Her thing is, “You do not ask for help. Ever.” To her pity is a most deplorable sentiment. She never went to a  grief councilor. Some times she would flip out on my little sister and I and leave, telling us that she would never return. I knew that she was bluffing, but my sister, at all of six years old, would cry until she passed out. We eventually made it through, and I will say that my mom and my sister are my best friends.

So next comes high school. I am a straight A, honors student. In tenth grade I meet this new boy, he was a black goth kid with chin-length braids. He wore all black and played electric guitar. I had never seen anything like him. Soon enough we were best friends. To him I confessed my deepest secret of being molested, and he told me that he had been molested as a child too. He was in love with me, but too afraid to say or do anything about it.

One day at a party, I met a friend of his from another school. Soon enough we were dating. Goth boy was jealous, but never told me. My mom loved said goth and would let him come over and spend the night all the time. This night seemed no different. Except that he kept trying to get me to drink. That wasn’t odd for me, but he never drank. I soon found out why. He fell asleep on the floor of my room, as he had done a hundred times before, and I went to sleep in my bed. I woke up to feel his body on top of me, ripping my pajama pants off. I was too startled or scared or shocked to scream. I just cried and pleaded. Once I saw that the pleading would do no I good, I continued to cry, but tried to move out from under him by wiggling my hips, trying to free myself. He, in the most sick, painful part of the assault said, “Yeah, baby, I like it when you twist your hips like that.” I was trying to free myself from this nightmare and all it was doing was enhancing his pleasure! Once he finished he told me that I was a slut and that my boyfriend was going to dump me for sure. He left the room laughing in hysterics.

I had already drunk beer and smoked weed, but this is when I started experimenting with other drugs. Ecstasy, Special K, then eventually coke. So a couple of years later when my next boyfriend and I were snorting coke all night and he offered me dope, I thought, “Why not?” My little sister who was at five years my junior, all of fourteen did it. She was using a needle already even. I thought, “How bad can it be if my little sister and her friends are shooting it?” Boy was I wrong.

Was my indifference, my extreme callousness due to a gene that was lurking inside me? Some dark force, hiding, lying in wait for the right time to jump into action? Or was I so quick to do something so risky because my life was just so shitty that I just didn’t care anymore?

I am not trying to use my past as as an excuse, a cop out. Many people go through many horrible, awful things and work through them without the use of chemicals. When the drugs were there and presented themselves to me, I was more than willing to let them into my body, into my consciousness. At that point in my life I didn’t care whose life I ruined because of my actions because I felt so wronged that I felt entitled to do what ever I wanted to numb the pain. And also, I honestly did not think there would be any consequences. I was going to be different. I was not going to addicted. I was too smart.

The reason that I am drawn to downers or depressants as an addict are that I normally feel too much. I have severe PTSD. I have been depressed my whole life. I think that after living in such excruciating pain my whole life, I was willing to do anything to not feel.

In sociology I learned about nature versus nurture. I have always tended towards the nurture. I just am unwilling to believe that we have a certain gene and thus are predisposed to be a certain way. I don’t think that I was born an addict, anymore than I think that kids in the ghetto are born to be drug dealers or gang members. Take those same kids and raise them in the suburbs, and send them to decent schools and see how much of a difference it makes.

This is comforting to me as well. If I was made, not born in to an addict, than there is hope for me. There is not some chip in my brain that says that I must be that way. It is a behavior that I have learned and perfected over a long period of time. It is hard work to change your tendencies to turn to drugs when you are feeling any pain, but it is just that, a tendency. I don’t think that I was born an addict, and while I may be one for the rest of my life, I am comforted that, with hard work, I will die a sober and recovering addict.

Daddy Dearest

My father died on November 21, 1995 of lung cancer. I watched him die on his “spot” on the living room couch. He did get to say goodbye albeit weakly, but I did get that. His death affected my life in more ways than I can even begin to concede.

My dad smoked my whole life. One year he was diagnosed with pneumonia. And then again the next year, and the next. When I was 11 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and told that he already had a collapsed lung. My little sister and I would told that he would be fine. He had quit smoking the first year that he had been diagnosed with pneumonia. He was also in good shape. He was a construction worker. He hunted every winter and took me fishing every summer. He was strong, he would beat this.

He opted to receive chemo. It tore him down. Fast. I watched the man who built our house, who took me fishing constantly, who worked full time and raised a garden become a skeleton who couldn’t walk or hardly talk. He was on morphine, fentanyl, and so many other pain meds that I was afraid to be left alone with him. One day, he had me hide behind the couch with him because he thought that our house was a war zone, and that my mother was the enemy. He would tell him that Elvis floated downfall rom the ceiling singing “Blue Suede Shoes”. At the age of 11, I didn’t know what to make of this.

I was young enough when my father died that my memories of him are still that he was perfect. Obviously, I know that he wasn’t, that he couldn’t be, but to me, he is.

I was really into theater as a kid. I was always doing a play. The fall of 1995 was no different. One day in November after school, I arrived at home to find a lot of family there. My mom and my aunt took me into my parents bedroom. They told me that my father was not doing as well as they had hoped. I asked them if would be able to see my show, which I believe was “P.T. Barnum” in March. They told me no, he probably would not make it past the new year. I felt so betrayed. They lied to me! They said that it was to protect me, but it installed my life long distrust for others.

A nurse was to come that night to take care of my father. He had IVs, he couldn’t really walk. My mom needed help. She was to arrive at around bedtime so that my mom could sleep. About an hour or so after I was told that my dad was dying, he called to me. He motioned for me to sit on his bed. He managed to get out “Goodbye”. He knew. He had my family members move him to his spot on the couch and we watched him die. The nurse showed up about 10 minutes after he died.

I don’t remember much of that night. My aunt took my sister and I to her house for a little bit. When we got back home in the middle of the night, he was gone. My mom, my sister and I all slept in my mom’s bed that night. I will never forget that we all woke up at about 6 am. Each of us had the exact same dream that my dad came to us and told us he loved us. I have believed in spirits ever since then. My father’s spirit has come to me and my kids ever since.

My dad died right before his favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. This started the Thanksgiving curse. The next year, after Thanksgiving dinner, my grandmother had a stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body, including her brain. She was never even close to the same person from that day until her death. The following year my aunt’s father died the day after Thanksgiving. My daughter was born on November 28, 2005. Exactly one decade and one week after my dad’s death. She was the first grandchild, the first great-grandchild. She broke the curse of death with her life.

After my dad’s death, I spiraled into a deep depression from which I have struggled with my entire life. I have had trouble getting close to men. This was multiplied by the fact that the first man that I got close to after my dad’s death, at the age of 15, raped me in the middle of the night when I was 16. The next man I got close to,  my high school boyfriend, was a mean, alcoholic. Luckily I found my husband, my soul mate, because if he ever betrays me I will probably never be able to get close to another man.

My life would have been so different if my father had not died. For one he would have never let a boy spend the night at my house. This would have prevented the rape. I lived to make him proud. I don’t think that I would have gotten into drugs if he were around.

I often wonder what my dad would think about how I turned out. Disappointed, no doubt. I always feel that I let him down. I pray for his forgiveness often. I wish that he could hug me and tell me that he still loves me.

He would have loved my kids, and them him. We have pictures of him throughout the house. My daughter used to tell me that my dad “who lives up in the sky” would come and play hide and seek with her. She said that he was a really good hider because she could never find him. She was only between two and three. She was too young to make something like that up.

My son used to be afraid to go to his grave, but is not so scared anymore. He thought that a graveyard had skeletons everywhere.

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Me as a baby with my mother and father. Circa 1985

I know that I have made a mess of my life, Daddy, but I am working on get my life back together. I am just a little bit of a late bloomer. I am going to make my 30’s count. I am going to be a worthwhile member of society. I hope that you can look down on me and be proud of the woman that I have become.